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Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) belong to a diverse range of serotypes. Serotypes O157 and O26 are predominately identified in VTEC-associated disease in Europe, however due to difficulty in detection little is known about the epidemiology of non-O157 serotypes. This study reports the identification of 7 VTEC serotypes from cattle faeces and soil. Cattle faeces samples (n = 128) were taken from animals in 6 different farms, with soil samples (n = 20) obtained from 1 farm. After sample incubation in modified tryptone soy broth (mTSB) supplemented with streptomycin sulphate samples were plated onto sorbitol MacConkey (SMAC) also supplemented with streptomycin sulphate. Bacteria detected on the plates were subjected to biochemical testing, antibiotic resistance profiling, and PCR to detect typical virulence genes, β-lactamase and class 1 integron associated genes. Serotyping was performed on isolates positive for virulence genes. E. coli was identified from 103 samples, with verotoxin genes present in 7 E. coli isolates. Of these 7 isolates, 5 were resistant to 5 or more antibiotics. The isolate resistant to 9 antimicrobials contained a class 1 integron structure. Serotyping identified 7 separate VTEC, O2:H27, O26:H11, O63:H−, O148:H8, O149:H1, O174:H21 and ONT:H25. Six of these VTEC have been previously associated with human disease, however with the exception of O26:H11, these serotypes have been rarely reported worldwide. Increased surveillance is required to determine the prevalence of these and other non-O157 VTEC. The presence of multi-antibiotic resistance in these isolates is of concern, and the overall implications for public health must be ascertained.
Scott, L., Walsh, C. et al (2009) Detection of numerous verotoxigenic E. coli serotypes, with multiple antibiotic resistance from cattle faeces and soil. Veterinary microbiology, 134,288-293 doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.08.008